Though their (second) self-titled album found Killswitch Engage reintroducing themselves as a more accessible, albeit still plenty frenzied, metalcore band, their sixth album, Disarm the Descent, feels as though they're reintroducing themselves not to the audience, but to one another. Returning to the band after the departure of Howard Jones in 2012, original vocalist Jesse Leach finds himself once again picking up vocals duties after parting ways with the group in 2002. Though Leach was a part of the band during their formative years, over a decade has passed since then, and while the performances by all parties involved here are certainly solid ones, they don't quite capture the raw power of their earlier work. In the time since Leach left the fold, Killswitch Engage have matured into a tighter, more refined band than they were for Alive or Just Breathing, and while Leach has certainly grown as a singer in the intervening years, the album doesn't quite recapture that sense of catharsis the band possessed back then. This isn't to say that the album is bad -- in fact, it's quite solidly constructed, an almost watertight specimen of technical acumen -- but that fans expecting this album to be a full-on time machine back to 2002 might be a bit disappointed. What the album might lack in muscle, however, it makes up for in speed, often feeling like a throwback to the days of thrash's blistering technicality, but where past album rampaged, this one merely races. At the end of the day, defining the exact shade of Disarm the Descent's melodic aggression might be splitting hairs, the most important thing for Killswitch fans is that while the band might be adjusting after a shake-up like losing a singer, they've still managed to create another riff-fest that, while not a throwback to their older sound, has them continuing down their current path without much trouble.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney